Last week, I decided that in addition to our monthly donations to indigenous activists and organizations that preserve the land, culture, and livelihoods of native peoples, for the month of June I would be making weekly donations to organizations that advocate for black lives, fight for systemic changes, bail out protestors, and support civil rights.
My first donation was to Campaign Zero because their eight immediate actions that police departments could take to reduce police violence by 72% made me feel hopeful (for the first time in a long time) about solutions.
Since then, I have learned how the eight actions they recommend are not enough. And I have learned that many of Campaign Zero’s actions have been tried and were not sufficient. For example, New York City’s police department had already banned choke holds when NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner. Pantaleo put Eric Garner in a choke hold while arresting him on suspicion of selling single cigarettes from a pack.
Police violence is out of control in the United States. But I am learning that police are not a given in our society. That by reducing the power of the police we can not only reduce police violence, but also strengthen criminalized communities. More cities can follow Minneapolis City Council’s vote to defund the police and reallocate its municipal budget so that more money goes into building healthy communities, creating jobs, improving education, providing childcare and social services.
I am learning by reading the commitments of 8 to Abolition and following their hashtag #8toAbolition. They are committed to a world without policing, to “a world without police, where no one is held in a cage, and all people thrive and be well” and have eight policy changes to get us there.
As we remain in lockdown due to COVID-19 and we discuss the new “post-COVID” world we want to live in – one where the environment and human rights are prioritized, where there is no hunger, no poverty, where corporations take financial and social responsibility for what were previously allowed as “externalities” – let us continue expanding our minds and our visions of society.
Let us deepen our understanding of policing in the US and expand our dreams of what life without police and the prison industrial complex would be. Let us, a society, take financial responsibility for the damage to communities caused by policing and other structures of systemic racism.
Let us imagine what the world can look like when all communities thrive and are self sufficient.
And let us create that world. Together.